Writing this seems crazy. If there’s a handful of milestones in life that are part of growing up, then renting your first apartment (for real) has to be one of them. I lived in the dorms when I was at Cal and then lived with three girls (who are some of my favorite people on the planet) for my junior and senior year, but it was all definitely funded by my parents as a part of my college education (go bears!).
I moved home when I graduated, started photographing weddings and other things full time, and then got a job at Torani, where I managed their social media for over a year. I learned a lot, worked my ass off, and never stopped dreaming of traveling the world, so I stayed living with my parents and saved every penny I possibly could. I continued to photograph weddings, build my business, and even babysit to make extra traveling bucks.
Having the opportunity to continue living with my parents after I started in the real world was a huge part of how and why I was able to afford to travel the world. Sam and I each saved $8,000 to spend two months backpacking in Europe and that doesn’t include the other trips we took last year. (Which reminds me, I want to write about those dollars and how they all stacked up. Another time, soon.) I am so thankful that my parents were able to give me that support and allow me to pursue my dreams. I couldn’t have saved that much and then spent it all on travel without them.
And yet, you can’t stay under your parents’ wings forever, even if it is nice and even if it does allow you to do what you really want to do. After spending six months staying in Uganda, backpacking through Europe, tasting wine and roadtripping in South Africa, camping throughout California, and finally eating literally all the noodles I possibly could in Thailand, we started looking for a real place. Sam and I have been dating for four years (jeez, time flies) and so we knew that when we both finally plucked up enough savings and enough gumption to move out, it would be into an apartment together.
It wasn’t easy to make the decision to move out. Actually, that’s a total lie: it was easy to make the decision but it was really hard to act on it. I kept having insane doubts about making enough money. It’s a little ridiculous for me to say that since I have a business that’s full time and definitely makes just enough money to pay for rent and food, but I guess this is what I was really afraid of: Would we have enough money to pay for rent, feed ourselves, clothe ourselves, live a good life at home AND AFFORD TO TRAVEL AT THE SAME TIME? Or/also, have enough time to travel if we needed to work so hard to afford everything?
The answer is still not totally clear to me. I’ve had lots of sleepless nights worrying and afternoons trying to build up my business or crunch numbers that make me feel like we can literally do anything our little hearts desire. It doesn’t seem like we’ll be able to do it no problem, but even if I don’t know if I have the money right now, I definitely do know that I have the reckless abandon and steadfast desire. So that’s something.
Where does that leave us? Sam and I signed a one year lease on a cute little apartment in Berkeley, starting mid-March. We have one unit in a sweet old Victorian house. We picked it because there’s lots of natural light (uhm, for pictures and daily happiness, obviously), it’s got gorgeous wood floors (said pictures to come), and it’s walking distance from friends, yoga, swimming pools, and more (one of the biggest things we both missed while living with our parents was having friends over all the time).
I’m still worried about affording things that are dreams and not necessities, but I’ve got big dreams and “real life” isn’t about to get in the way of accomplishing those. I will definitely blog our little home as we start to move in… and our travels as we figure out how to make it all happen. I hope you’ll stay around for the ride; it will certainly be quite an adventure! xo